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Neil reveals his 'jail' experience
Posted on: 18-04-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

Weren’t there inhibitions when you shot for a seemingly frontal nude scene in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail?
I was doing a realistic film. Before doing bold cinema, one does have certain inhibitions. I had to first understand the character graph. We are shooting the film in chronological order. Jail is about a subject that the common man isn’t exposed to. We didn’t want to show things that seemed artificial. My character is being frisked and it’s important to portray it as real as possible. I didn’t want to do it as part of any gimmick or as a publicity thing for the film. This scene forms the crux of the film. The humiliation of a convict when he is stripped, is akin to a man being raped. Madhur has shot it very nicely so that the viewers are not scandalized. As an actor, I don’t think any man should be inhibited. More than the shame of shooting such a scene, it was the trauma of the character that’s shameful. After getting comfortable with the surroundings, I was okay because I knew the scene was being well shot.

What’s the boldest act that you’ve seen in any cinema — Indian or otherwise?
Kate Winslet in Titanic. It was all about boldness transforming into beauty.

Do you think you are setting a benchmark for Indian actors to be bold?
All our actors are very comfortable with their bodies. I see no reason why they shouldn’t go ahead and do it. Bold acts are not about the looks. They’re about bringing out emotions in the moment. Why are clothes worn? In Hindi, we say: ‘Izzat dhakne ke liye kapde pehente hai hum. Jab izzat utar do, toh uske upar kya beet ti hain?’

You’ll also be shooting a bath sequence with 40 inmates where you would be shown wearing your bare essentials...
I don’t see any problem if it’s picturised correctly. Why should people not accept the truth? This is real cinema. People are not aware of life behind bars. Had I not done this film, I would never have known about these disturbing facts in a convict’s life.
Shooting such a scene won’t be a problem for me.

Frontal nudity is common in foreign cinema. Should a subject so demand, would you do a frontal nude scene where parts of your body won’t be hidden behind a wall as one sees in the stills in Jail?
Let’s go with the times. I’m not too sure whether our audience would accept that now. Bandit Queen had a very aesthetically shot nude scene. I think we should have the courage to show the importance of such moments.


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